Hexham fishing legend's collection for sale at auction

The lifelong collection of a Tyne angler described as a 'legend' is to be sold by Newcastle auction house Anderson & Garland

Some of angler Ken Wood's fishing flies which will be auctioned

Anglers will be lining up today in a bid to land items from the lifelong collection of a fisherman described as a “legend”.

In almost 60 years of angling, Ken Wood from Hexham in Northumberland caught almost 1,000 salmon - and logged each one in a diary which began in 1962.

Mr Wood, who died earlier this year aged 69, ran a plumbing business in Hexham but took every opportunity to go fishing.

He made his own flies, wooden spinners and landing nets which will be among 200 lots of his equipment to be sold today by Newcastle auction house Anderson & Garland.

The collection also includes 30 rods, reels, lines, baskets and clothing, plus Mr Wood’s workbench.


Mr Wood’s funeral at Hexham Abbey was attended by many anglers. He was a committee member of Hexham Anglers Association and held the record for the longest unbroken run of service to the organisation.

Yesterday association secretary Andrew Jackson, who spoke at Mr Wood’s funeral, said: “Angling was his life. It is what he lived for. He was a legend in his own lifetime and everybody either knew him or had heard of him.

“He is a great miss and it isn’t the same without him. Ken was one of the old school fishermen. He was very passionate about what he did.”

Mr Jackson, who runs the Go Jo Records shop in Hexham, said that Mr Wood’s record of 980 salmon caught was even more remarkable in that for a number of years after he started fishing in the early 1960s, the pollution-hit Tyne was a shadow of the top salmon river it is today.

“He was a quite outstanding and gifted angler who knew the Tyne inside out,” said Mr Jackson.

“He knew the good places to go and the right times. He truly was a great character.

“He made his own flies and painted wooden spinners and had a phenomenal amount of gear. He had spares for spares for spares.”

Mr Wood’s Brother Derek, who lives in Darras Hall in Ponteland, said: “He fished from the age of 10 or 11, when he caught his first pike and he was hooked on fishing for the rest of his life.

“Fishing became his holidays. Every chance he got to go to the river he would do so. He just loved to fish. Fishing was largely his life and he never married. I don’t know if a wife would have put up with it.”

The first entry in Mr Wood’s log is dated March 17, 1962, when he landed a 16.5Ib salmon at Hexham. The last entry was October 28, 2011, for a 20Ib salmon taken at his favourite spot between Hexham and Corbridge. Mr Wood’s best catch was a 30Ib fish in 1980.

Derek Wood said: “Ken was fishing when he was involved in the rescue of a man who’d got into difficulties in the river. The family still have the newspaper cutting from April 1960, which features Ken’s picture.

“He was about 15 and he got a letter of thanks from the Chief Constable at the time .”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer